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Turn your French property dream into reality

6th September 2011 Print

If you have ever dreamed of buying a property in France then here’s your chance to find out how to make your aspirations a reality.

Tickets are now available for A Place in the Sun Live, the official exhibition of the hit Channel 4 television series, which takes place at the NEC Birmingham from 30 September to 2 October.

French property specialist Sarah Bogard, a partner with leading law firm Furley Page, will be holding free seminars every day in the show’s popular French Village to guide visitors through the complexities of the buying process in France. She will also be offering top tips and advice on everything from buying and selling a property to Wills, French succession law and French inheritance tax.

Sarah will be joined by other members of the Furley Page French property and estates team, including native French-speaking property and tax adviser Florence Richards. Florence, a former French Avocat who speaks fluent English, is an expert on the purchase, sale and holding of French property, and the associated tax implications.

“This is still a good time to invest in French property,” says fluent French-speaking Sarah. “The current economic climate is helping to create a more favourable market for buyers.

“According to French notaries, the price of French property outside the capital fell by 1.6% in the first quarter of the year, but latest figures from the National Federation of Estate Agents show that the average price of property sold in France in the second quarter was up 3.3%. And with the Federation predicting 100,000 more sales in 2011 compared to 2010, many investors will be keen to buy before increasing demand drives prices up even further.”

Figures reveal that the average increase outside of Paris was 4.3% in the second quarter, with apartment prices up 5.1% and house prices up 3.7%. Average property prices in the capital were up just 1% in comparison, with the cost of an apartment rising by 2.9% but house prices falling by 2.4%.

The third Investing and Living Abroad survey by French bank BNP Paribas recently revealed that sales of French properties to international buyers increased by 21% in 2010, up from 42,300 in 2009 to 51,200 last year.

So why does France continue to be such a popular choice? “Despite interest in countries like Estonia, Romania, Poland and Bulgaria over recent years, market volatility in some parts of Europe is drawing buyers back to France, which has always traditionally been seen as a safe haven for investors,” says Sarah.

“Many of the buyers we advise see the French property market as a stable one and a secure place to invest their money. They also trust France’s legal system when it comes to buying property and have confidence in the quality of the homes available.

“The French Government’s recent decision to scrap plans to tax overseas nationals who own holiday homes in France will also encourage buyers to view France favourably. And of course, French properties are easily accessible for weekend breaks by car, train or plane, and they offer good rental potential.

“France is still a good country to invest in or move to, provided buyers allow for currency fluctuations and the local laws, in particular succession laws.”

Properties in the Dordogne and surrounding regions seem to be the most popular areas for British buyers, says Sarah: “They tend to buy for a mixture of reasons, whether it’s as a second home, a permanent move or a renovation project – although buyers purchasing properties in ski resorts tend to be looking for a rental income as well as a holiday home.

“We’ve also dealt with a lot of house sales over the last year, both main residences and second homes, although there’s no evidence to suggest people are moving back to the UK due to the economic climate,” adds Sarah.

A Place in the Sun Live is the UK’s biggest overseas property exhibition. It is held twice a year, in London and Birmingham, and attracts thousands of home hunters from right across Britain looking to invest overseas.

“Last year we welcomed visitors to our stand from as far afield as Swansea, Edinburgh and Cornwall,” says Sarah. “The NEC is always a popular venue because it’s easily accessible and has over 20,000 onsite parking spaces.”

The Furley Page French property and estates team will be in the French Village at stand FR15 every day between 10am and 5pm.

Furley Page is offering FREE tickets to the show, worth £12 each on the door. To claim your free tickets, email Complimentary tickets are subject to availability.

To find out more about the show, go to